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Frameshift - An Absence of Empathy Review
by Brad Podray

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Oh Sebastian Bach, what out of whack, over-the-top musical planet did they import you from? For the unschooled and idiotic, Sebastian Bach is proof that great high-pitched male vocalists from the late 80s / early 90s still haven't died off completely. Frameshift's album An Absence of Empathy, answers the mysterious and heavily-debated question: What the hell would Skid Row sound like in 2005? Well, this is it. The rambunctious attitude of late 80s rock music is not only present, it washes over this album like an Old Testament-style flood. The music ranges from the technically sound to the ridiculously cheesy to flashy-as-all-hell. Henning Pauly is the main craftsman behind much of the backing music, and he handles it well. Yet, one cannot discount the fact that the album's ambience and structure seems a little dated(not that I'm complaining of course). The energy and song progression from 80s rock songs that you hear at 2am on an infomercial rear their heads from time to time, except on this album you actually enjoy them. Just take one listen to "Blade" and I challenge you to not feel the power of the music increase the heavy metal levels coursing throughout your bloodstream. Anyhow, back to Henning Pauly- This artist's guitar work is something that this particular reviewer is new to and this particular reviewer must say that he is duly impressed. The synthesizer work is, well, pretty damn cheesy. There's no other way in the world to put it. The keyboards sound like what Nine Inch Nails would do if Trent Reznor was drunk on whiskey and spent the last 20 hours being force fed hair metal, Clockwork Orange Style. Other drawbacks of the album include parts repeated in songs way too many times and uncertainty as to whether the people driving in your car will be able to appreciate it if you put it on. The album has some cookie cutter elements(the "slow song" at the end and a general album theme involving a man questioning the violence of the human race because come on, it's not like it's the first time somebody has questioned that) These drawbacks are steadfastly held back by Pauly's exceptional instrumental tactics and Bach's vocals because, lets face it- I don't care who the hell you are or how cheesy you think Skid Row is, Sebastian Bach is a damn freaking good vocalist. He can hit the high notes, hit the low notes, hit the higher notes that are even higher than the aforementioned high notes, sound aggressive, and sound soothing(but he doesn't really do any of these at the same time).

Sure to please: Open minded progressive rock fans. Skid Row fans who don't mind synthesizers

Sure to disappoint: The modern 14-18 year old demographic that's been too saturated with modern rock to even conceptualize an appreciation for this CD.


CD Info and Links

Frameshift - An Absence of Empathy

Label:Progrock Records
Rating:

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